Window and door manufacturer Andersen Corporation must pay a former job applicant a year’s worth of pay as part of a settlement brokered by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). The Bayport-based company must also work to build a more inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.
The settlement resulted from a situation in 2019. Andersen Corporation withdrew a job offer to an applicant at their Bayport production facility after learning of his disability.
“Minnesota is not in the business of excluding people from jobs because of their disability,” said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “The state’s civil rights law requires employers to have inclusive hiring practices, which help employers recruit applicants and foster a stronger workforce.”
The company claimed that it withdrew the job offer because the applicant could not safely operate a forklift. However, operating a forklift was not an essential function of the job. MDHR found that the applicant could safely operate a forklift, a fact that was confirmed by his doctor. When the applicant provided medical documentation to Andersen Corporation and asked them to reconsider his employment, the company again refused to hire him.
As a result of an investigation, MDHR found that the employer’s alleged justification for rescinding the job offer was false. The investigation concluded that Andersen Corporation refused to hire the applicant because of his disability, in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the state’s civil rights law.
The job applicant’s identity was not released. Nor was the nature of the disability. He will be paid $41,000.
The settlement indicates that Andersen denies it violated the law or was discriminatory. The company released a statement, saying “This single instance from 2019 is not reflective of our policies, practices or procedures then or now. We pride ourselves on being a place where every employee is welcomed, valued and inspired to achieve their full potential and we work hard to deliver on this commitment every day.”
Andersen officials committed to several steps as part of the settlement, as a means of helping to prevent future discrimination. The company agrees to:
Audit all manufacturing positions at Minnesota-based production facilities so they accurately reflect the actual job functions of each role.
Create and enforce a policy so applicants can appeal a decision to rescind a job offer.
Provide all employees with anti-discrimination training, including disability-related topics.
State officials will monitor the company for three years to ensure compliance with the settlement agreement.
Andersen Corporation is an international window and door manufacturing enterprise employing about 13,000 people at more than 30 manufacturing facilities, logistics centers and company owned retail locations.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is the state’s civil rights enforcement agency. It is tasked with enforcing the Minnesota Human Rights Act, one of the most comprehensive state civil rights laws in the country. Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against, submit this online form or call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148.